A recent study has revealed that university students in the US are struggling with mental health issues more than ever before, with many considering dropping out of their programmes due to emotional stress.
The study, conducted by Lumina Foundation and Gallup, surveyed over 12,000 US adults aged 18– 59 who have a high school degree/diploma or equivalent and have not yet completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.
According to the study, approximately 41% of students enrolled in postsecondary education programmes have considered dropping out in the past six months. Of those who considered stopping out, approximately 55% cited emotional stress as the reason why.
The situation has only worsened due to the Covid pandemic, which has isolated students and made it even more difficult for them to cope with the stresses of university life. The study’s results indicate that even as concerns about Covid recede, students in associate or bachelor’s degree programs are no less likely than they were in 2021 to have considered stopping their coursework prior to completion.
The study also found that approximately 55% of students who have considered stopping out for personal mental health reasons rate their school’s mental health resources positively. Experts say that young adult years are a vulnerable time for mental health in general, and the significant changes that often come with attending university can be added stressors.
An estimated 1 in 5 adults in the US lives with a mental illness, and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are disproportionately affected. The share of university students reporting anxiety and depression has been growing for years, and it has only gotten worse during the Covid pandemic. An analysis of federal data by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that half of young adults ages 18–24 have reported anxiety and depression symptoms in 2023, compared with about a third of adults overall.
The study’s findings have raised concerns among mental health advocates and educators. Many are calling for increased resources and support for university students struggling with mental health issues. It is crucial to address the issue and ensure that students have access to the resources they need to cope with the emotional stress of university life.